The Chaplain’s Lady
Visitors to Mackinac Island can trace the steps of John and Charlotte O’Brien. Their story comes to life through their letters, lovingly uncovered by their great grandson, Edward Nicholas. Today the story still ends with the discovery of her grave still remaining in Mackinac Island’s Post Cemetery.
The O’Brien’s moved to Mackinac Island in the spring of 1842 when John accepted the position of U.S. Army Chaplain of Fort Mackinac. The letters continue until Charlotte’s death in 1855.
From the book: “John and Charlotte O’Brien treasured the letters they received from each other. They tied them up with string in tight little bundles, sometimes marked ‘From the beloved to me’ or ‘Letters of mine tied up by the beloved’. After they had died, their son Lyster O’Brien kept the papers. No matter how much he moved about in his lifelong career as a soldier, he always had them safely stored somewhere. …
From the papers that he preserved I have formed this book. Its words are John’s and Charlotte’s more than my own. I have invented nothing, but only tried to arrange and interpret the writings that they left. Much is immediate and poignant, much is unknown.” – Edward Nicholas